Kweisi Mfume, a former congressman from the 7th district of Maryland and one-time head of the NAACP, won the Democratic primary to fill the seat left vacant by the passing of Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.
Mfume won out over Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the former head of the state Democratic Party and the late congressman’s wife, and State Sen. Jill P. Carter, who rounded out the top three vote-getters in the pool of two dozen Democrat contenders. Both Rockeymoore Cummings and Carter are still running in an April 28 special election to serve out the rest of Cummings’s term, but Mfume is favored to win the congressional seat he once held more than 20 years ago, according to The Washington Post.
Kimberly Klacik won the Republican primary. Klacik was responsible for posting a video last summer of trash in West Baltimore that prompted Trump to call Cummings’ district a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess.”
Baltimore voters appeared to back Mfume, 71, in large part because of his experience.
“At this time we don’t need any folks going into Washington, D.C., new at the job,” Sharon E. Watts, 72, a retired educator, told The Washington Post. “We need someone who can somewhat step the way that Elijah was stepping. Everybody has their own style, of course. Kweisi has proven himself in many ways politically.”
Mfume was pleased to accept the Dem nod.
“I accept your nomination as the Democratic nominee to Congress!” he said enthusiastically, surrounded by supporters. “Experience matters.”
After the win, Mfume acknowledged Cummings’s sisters who endorsed him for the seat. “This is for him. This is for him!” Mfume said about Elijah Cummings, his friend of more than 40 years.
The Democratic and Republican candidates who win in the April 28 primary will go on to compete in November for the full two-year congressional term.
“I’m looking forward to April 28, and I look forward to working with all of you all to make it happen,” Rockeymoore Cummings said to chants from her supporters, the Post reported. “I look forward to what comes next.”
Mfume, who began serving in Congress in 1987, left in 1996 to head the NAACP.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story said Kweisi Mfume is returning to congress in Elijah Cumming’s seat. The correction is that Mfume won a Democratic primary and will compete in April at a special general election to fill the remainder of Cummings’ term.]